Revenge Feeds Instability in Libya

Tawergha – Rebels have been torching homes in the abandoned city 25 miles to the south. Since Thursday, The Wall Street Journal has witnessed the burning of more than a dozen homes in the city Col. Gadhafi once lavished with money and investment. On the gates of many vandalized homes in the country’s only coastal city dominated by dark-skinned people, light-skinned rebels scrawled the words “slaves” and “negroes.”

A home in Tawergha that rebels burned

“We are setting it on fire to prevent anyone from living here again,” said one rebel fighter as flames engulfed several loyalist homes.

Every house, shop, school and public building in Tawergha has been ransacked since the Misrata rebels chased out pro-Gadhafi soldiers. At the time, hundreds of families also fled, fearing reprisals. Rebels slaughtered some of the livestock left behind, the carcasses of which are still rotting in the yards of abandoned homes.

Misrata’s rebels are also preventing Tawergha residents from coming back and have tracked down and arrested dozens of male Tawergha natives taking refuge in Tripoli, bringing them back to Misrata from the capital for detention and interrogation.

“The revolution was supposed to give people their rights, not to oppress them,” said Hussein Muftah, a Tawergha elder who fled to Tripoli last month, referring to the Feb. 17 uprising.

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